The Rain Shield is like an umbrella in 3-D.

It’s honed to tackle sideways rain just as well as drops that fall directly down on your head.

The material is waterproof.

And its frame appears to be self-reinforcing, meaning that it actually gets stronger in the wind.

But the best part may be simply that it folds into a flat plate.

But the best part may be simply that it folds into a flat plate.

Co.Design

An Ingenious Redesign Of The Common Umbrella

Two Taiwanese students have created the Rain Shield, with hopes of conquering the umbrella’s age-old failings.

Umbrellas have plenty of weaknesses, but the one that really galls is that they seem to be designed for only a very particular style of rain--drops that fall straight down on your head. Rain, as it turns out, is often accompanied by wind. So the drops will flank you, finding a way under your protective shield, while gusts of wind constantly threaten to turn it awkwardly, shamefully inside-out. In the middle of a windy Chicago thunderstorm, I often find myself trudging to the store like Captain America facing a barrage of bullets, perpetually fearful of losing my last line of defense against wetness.

Rain Shield, a Red Dot award winner designed by students Lin Min-Wei and Liu Li-Hsiang, is an attempt to solve these age-old problems by acknowledging the way rain really works. It’s an umbrella with no sharp parts to stab fellow pedestrians, and no “bones” or joints for gusts to invert. And you can aim its extended flat panel directly at the rain to protect you from several aquatic attacks at once.

The Rain Shield’s most enticing proposition, however, may be that it reimagines the whole folding and unfolding process. While most umbrellas slide along a pole to be lifted into position, the Rain Shield pops out like a family-friendly tent. Notably, this means that you won’t be forced to carry around a metal stick all day. Instead, your umbrella folds into a cloth plate that you can stow flat in a purse or briefcase, a bit larger than your ultra-portable umbrella but definitely smaller than the mighty walking stick umbrellas out there.

As of today, Rain Shield doesn’t exist beyond the concept mock-ups you see here, but the duo of Taiwanese designers are currently forming a studio to realize a series of new products. We wish them well.

See more here.

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30 Comments

  • bikash

     Very impressive, keep going guys, please notify after it is commercialized with necessary modification. i ready to help you in marketing in my area. it will surely hit the market.

  • m/\x /\/\ythic

    Make the side shielding material transparent and you have a really good idea. The fact that a user can not have full 360 sight is a problem.

  • ColleenMDevan

    I was hoping this was for sale or at least crowdfunding now.  Best of luck commercializing this, guys.

  • kc2ped

    I like the concept but worry about the blind spot all that material will create wherever you put it.  What happens when you are walking into the wind and need the protection in front of you but also need to see where you are going.  It seems like it needs to be made, at least in part, of a transparent material.

  • Dan O'Donnell


    Love the creative,
    non-traditional approach.

    At GRIP2
    LLC, we've also taken a unique, innovative approach to umbrella redesign. We
    see the problem as one of control, so we added a fundamentally new feature: a
    repositionable "power grip" that can be located and locked anywhere
    on the shaft.  With greatly improved leverage, it's incredibly easy - up to 70% easier than
    conventional umbrellas - to comfortably brace the umbrella against the wind
    WITH ONE HAND and maintain control in gusts.  And in calm conditions, the
    umbrella feels lighter because it's held close to the natural balance point.  Grab Control. 
    Stay Dry.  GRIP2.  Check out our
    website: www.grip2umbrellas.com     

  • guest

    Perhaps not perfect, but I'm willing to take a blind spot and some wet hands over an inside-out umbrella any day. There simply must be a better alternative to the traditional umbrella and this seems like a step in the right direction!
     

  • Joydot

    visual blind easily overcome yet sail issue problematic. but i really hope someone cracks this code because i've just chucked yet another 'high tech' umb after a few uses because the lightweight strut broke (fabric, reflective stripes were still shiny beautiful).

  • smart3r

    Pretty slick idea, interesting design. 

    I'd love to the material altered a bit, semi transparent fabric with UV protection would be awesome (Jeep Wrangler bikini leverage a similar material). I see people all the time using umbrellas to protect their skin from the sun. Umbrellas are not just for rainy days.
    - Russ

  • Santiago Nader

    Good to see someone trying to reinvent a product as traditional as the umbrella. A couple of thing: as some pointed out, you get your hands wet when folding. When folded the regular umbrella can be left pointing down to let it dry but apparently this one will hold the water inside so it will take longer to dry. 
    I don't think the blocked vision is a problem since when there is wind you tilt the regular umbrella and sometimes that can block almost all your visual. With strong wind you can transform the umbrella gladiator's shield! 

  • Christian Dicenso

    The material is waterproof, so in theory, all the water will bead off as you fold it. Probably wouldn't be perfect, but my guess is that it will keep your car/purse/hands a little drier than a traditional umbrella.

  • Pvd

    Great way to see people struggling with the "ingenious folding mechanism" in daily life, not just on the camp ground with their 2-second tents 

  • Mike

    I like the thinking it is well presented but it is flawed product, the blind spot is dangerous especially crossing roads, and also with a regular umbrella your hand stays dry and the umbrella can be folded down in half a second in 1 or 2 steps, with this folding design it takes 3 steps and your hands get wet!! as you have to grab the top of the wet shield...and then there is nowhere to hold it when it is folded.

  • Writer_Dave

    18 cm plate is less convenient than conventional, and the thought of the blind spot gives me the heebiejeebies. It also wouldn't lend itself well to a transparent window, due to the folding mechanism.

    Nice idea, not practical.

  • G_Fo

    It's conceivable they could employ a transparent/semi-transparent UV-protective material, they're already used in other applications. That would solve the issue of a blind-spot. This could potentially be made from a single piece of said fabric so as to accommodate their current folding design. If necessary, the fabric could potentially be coloured more on the upper portion, and become increasingly translucent to transparent where it's needed. Just a thought. And I don't see the folded shape as presenting any more/less convenience than a small cylinder, such as an umbrella is traditionally shaped when compacted.